Amidst an invigorating climate and thousands of tourists enjoying the enlivening weather, the 8-day ‘Saaral Thiruvizhaa 2010,' the annual cultural festival conducted at Courtallam during the season every year, got off to a colourful start on Saturday.

Minister for Tourism N. Suresh Rajan lighted the traditional lamp to mark the inauguration of ‘Saaral Thiruvizhaa 2010' in the presence of Speaker R. Avudaiyappan, Minister for Hindu Religious Charitable Endowment K.R. Periyakaruppan, Minister for Environment, Youth Welfare and Sports T.P.M. Maideen Khan, Collector M. Jayaraman, MLA V. Karuppasamy Pandian and Deputy Mayor of Tirunelveli Corporation K. Muthuramalingam.

Apart from bringing cultural troupes from Tamil Nadu, the district administration has roped in artistes from Punjab and Goa for this edition of ‘Saaral Thiruvizhaa' to enthral the tourists. While the ‘Sammi' troupe from Punjab will entertain the visitors on July 26, 27 and 28, the folk artists of Goa will perform on July 29, 30 and 31.

Renowned orator Solomon Pappaiah (July 28), cine actor R. Pandiarajan (July 29), actor Y.G. Mahendra (July 30) and music director Gangai Amaran (July 31) will amuse the tourists during the festival.

‘Mr. Courtallam' (at 2.30 p.m. on July 25), rangoli (at 10.30 a.m. on July 27), fashion parade and chubby baby contests (at 10.30 a.m. on July 28) and dog show (at 2 p.m. on July 29) will be conducted at Kalaivaanar Kalaiyarangam. Roller skating contest will be conducted near Hilton Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Old Courtallam at 3 p.m. on July 26 while swimming competitions in various categories organised in the swimming pool near Kalaivaanar Kalaiyarangam at 3 p.m. on July 30.

On the last day of the festival (on July 31), boat race will be conducted in the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation boat club at Vennamadaikulam on the Main Falls – Five Falls stretch. Those who want to participate in these competitions should register their names with The Manager, Hotel Tamil Nadu, Courtallam (04633 – 283003) or with District Sports Officer, Anna Stadium, Palayamkottai (0462 – 2572632).

More In: Madurai